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Spotlight: Simon Taylor
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30TH SEPTEMBER 2015.
nvestigating the bar
scene in far-flung
countries is always an
interesting experience. Not
that Switzerland is that
exotic, the bar scene in
Geneva just isn’t exactly
what you would call world-
with the help of some
local family knowledge, I
managed to track down
two great cocktail bars to
spend some evenings in.
One was a classic Euro-style wine bar that just happened
to have a great cocktail selection, while the other wouldn’t
have looked out of place in some of London’s more hipster
boroughs. Incidentally, the latter occasionally flies in some
big name bartenders from old London town to serve for
the night – it’s apparently always a big hit with the large
English expat community in the city and goes to show how
there really are no limits to how far a bar will go to make
themselves stand out with patrons.
Apart from relishing the chance to exercise my atrocious
French speaking skills, the bars served as an interesting
examination of all things menus. Yes, I know that’s a bit
specific but it fits with our on-going investigation on our
website (professional.topshelf.com.au) and in the mag of
how to construct a menu that is interesting, engaging, and
informative – I’ll give you a hint, it’s like asking how long
is a piece of string. Anyway, the different menus in each
bar proved to be all three of these things, despite being
presented in vastly different manners.
In L’Apothicaire Cocktail Club the vibe is the
aforementioned Euro-style with small complimentary
tapas plates and, conversely, a menu that presents like a
1920s broadsheet newspaper. Neatly divided into sections
like “New Cocktails”, “Martinis”, and “Classics”, the rather
flowery descriptions (in French they all sound amazing)
are interspersed with 1920s booze ads, a picture of Sean
Connery as Bond, and old school cartoons. It’s visually
engaging without being overwhelming and suits the cheeky
vibe and friendly staff that the bar has going on.
Two streets away in Le Verre a Monique, the hipster reign
and they take their cocktails very seriously. The leather
bound tome might seem a little staid on the outside but with
headings like “Disco Drinks” and “Serious & Strong” –
as well as potentially the greatest drink name pun ever,
Large Hadron Colada anyone? – on the inside the menu is
well thought out and easy to navigate, even for the newbies
I was drinking with. To show their cocktail cred and inject
a little bit of fun, there are a smattering of quotes from the
Savoy Cocktail Book (regarding the Corpse Reviver) and
famous drinkers (that Orson Welles line about the Negroni is
in there), as well as a series of “Guided Tours”. These are sets
of three cocktails that are delivered to you in the order they
are intended to be drunk – for example the “Don Draper” is
a Dirty Harry (Hendricks, olive brine, green Tabasco and a
caperberry), followed by a Manhattan, and finished with a
Clockwork Orange (Makers Mark, Morand Cognac a l’Orange,
brown sugar and Angostura Bitters). Interesting stuff.
On a totally different note, at this point I assume everyone
has been checking out the crazy social media storm
surrounding the Inception Negroni from the Prohibition
Lounge in Vancouver? If anyone would like to drill a hole in a
partially frozen ice ball, fill it with a classic Negroni, then drop
it in a glass filled with a white Negroni, and pop it next to my
tea mug on my desk... that would be amazing, ta.
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